The exodus of students, professionals and working people of North East from different parts of the country, continue with paranoia and fear in minds. This is the most unfortunate part of the story, that people do not feel safe to live across the country because they are branded as a generic class with indistinguishable characteristics.
The tragedy is the woeful paucity of knowledge of the rest of India about India's North East, a place seen as one distinct entity, as opposed to mainstream dialectics of a different kind of identity consciousness. Hardly any attempt is made to reflect North East culture and history in studies of university, and colleges, taking each state as distinct identities. Hence the ignorance about these states, a generic view on them, based on mistaken identities, knowledge and culture, and classification of the people as inheritors of one common ethnicity.
Coming to the present crises, and with trouble not showing signs of abating in Kokrajhar and allied districts, the good augury is that Parliament has raised one indelible voice to root out divisive elements, and uphold strongly the oneness of the country. The efforts of the Karnataka Government especially are noteworthy. Impassioned pleas are being made by both state and central governments, not to pay heed to rumours.
Who are spreading all these virulent fears is the question. In the midst of all this chaos the media could do well to give assurances in the form of examples where the people, as in Bangalore are cutting across racial and religious lines to express solidarity with the people of North East India, living elsewhere. This is absolutely necessarily.
Sanjoy Hazarika writing in The Outlook Magazine has pointed out how such instances of individual help to one another are taking place in the riot affected areas of Assam. It is imperative that the media both electronic and print highlight embattled forces of help and those rising above all narrow considerations, to help each other.
It is puerile and ridiculous to classify all North East Indian people as one, in being residents of a place where the trouble is taking place. For example why are students from Manipur being interviewed, they are not remotely connected with the trouble. This stems out of ignorance and amorphous geography. At the same time it is true that incidents of threat and attack did take place. But the media should have separated the chaff from the grain, and not sensationally highlighted these.
At this point in time it is difficult to pin point statistics as fact and fiction, are blended in horrendous ways. The people who spread canards, are the ones who want discord. Better sense must prevail, wisdom and prudence must take over and the voice of the community pleading for peace and positivism must take over. And please, the media must exercise restraint to curb tonality of sensationalism, which only excites passion. PLEASE!
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Ananya S Guha
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